Chemokines or chemotactic cytokines represent an expanding family of structurally related small molecular weight proteins, recognised as being responsible for leukocyte trafficking and activation. Soon after the discovery of this class of cytokines, about a decade ago, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) was found to be highly expressed in human atherosclerotic lesions and postulated to be central in monocyte recruitment into the arterial wall and developing lesions. In this review, we will discuss our present knowledge about MCP-1 and its receptor CCR2 and their role in atherogenesis. Although less well established, other chemokines such as RANTES, MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta have also been implicated in atherosclerotic lesion formation as are a number of more recently discovered chemokines like MCP-4, ELC and PARC. The role of these chemokines in the progression of atherosclerosis will be discussed as well as the emerging role of IL-8, mostly know for its effects on neutrophils. Particular attention will be given not only to the involvement of chemokines in the inflammatory recruitment of monocytes/macrophages, but also to their role in the related local immune responses and vascular remodelling which occur during the formation of unstable atherosclerotic plaques.